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The case for posthumous music

by kit.m (follow)
Music (14)      Rock (11)      Queen (5)      Freddie Mercury (4)      The Beatles (4)      Michael Jackson (2)      Johnny Cash (2)      Pink Floyd (2)      Elvis Presley (2)      John Lennon (2)     


Death, it seems, does not stop the most iconic of artists.

This year has been busy for the dearly departed. So far seen the release of a brand new Johnny Cash album called "Out Among the Stars", started in the 1980's and fleshed out with modern technology, it features Johnny Cash's wife June who predeceased him in 2003 and Waylon Jennings who died in 2002. Cash has released a series posthumous albums full of covers labelled "American".

The late great Michael Jackson has also had a productive year with the release of his second posthumous album "Xscape", an eight-track album which is an improvement to 2010's "Michael". Controversy arose about the authenticity of Jacko's vocals on the first posthumous attempt. Was it really him? I sure think so, but to counter any backlash Sony Records have released the original demos in a deluxe package sitting alongside the newly reworked editions.

In November, Queen are also set to release three new songs featuring the late Freddie Mercury (who died in 1991) with newly reworked guitar and drum parts from band mates Brian May and Roger Taylor. This follows on from "Made in Heaven",an album's worth of material released in 1995, some four years after Mercury had departed.

During the same month Pink Floyd will be releasing their first 21st Century album featuring songs reworked around keyboard sessions from the late Richard Wright (who died in 2008).

In the past, we have seen new material finished off from the likes of Elvis Presley, Nirvana, Tupac, Bob Marley, John Lennon, George Harrison, Amy Winehouse and The Beatles to name just a few.

So are posthumous releases,on the whole, a money-grabbing stunt, or a fitting tribute to unique talents that were taken too soon?

I would certainly pick the latter. I feel that in a circumstance where ardent fans are left wanting more from performers which in their lifetime acquired a huge fanbase then their clearly is a marketable product.

Of course, a moral dilemma is whether the performer in question would have consented to unreleased demos or unfinished songs marketed as a finished product. I would argue that if there is no contractual stipulation or censorship bequeathed in a will preventing private archives in the event of a death then there should be less of an argument against the release of such music.

#Michael Jackson
#Freddie Mercury
#Johnny Cash
#Waylon Jennings
#Pink Floyd
#Elvis Presley
#The Beatles
#John Lennon
#George Harrison
#Amy Winehouse
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